My teenage daughter, Clara, babysits a precocious first grader. The last time she babysat her, the little girl immediately started crying as soon as Clara walked in the door, “I’m going to miss Clara so much when she’s gone!” she said, and proceeded to mope around and pout.
Thankfully, the mom of this little girl knows how to guide (“outsmart”) her. After the outburst, she said, “You choose. You can make it a good day and enjoy Clara while she is here and make good memories, or you can choose to be sad and not enjoy the day and not make good memories.”
After hearing that advice, I realized that it can apply to teenagers too. So walk with me through this and take a look at the three choices our teens need to make every day.
1. The Attitude choice.
Our children will be better suited for life if they understand that how they view life is a choice. Yes, there are times we will be hurt, angry, sad or disappointed. It’s okay to feel that way, but we need to teach our children to then frame those feelings and choose how to process them into their lives. Our children will be stronger and better equipped to deal with what comes their way if they consciously choose how they will respond to it.
Our children will be better suited for life if they understand that how they view life is a choice.
2. The Boss choice.
My son will graduate from high school in three years. When he leaves, he’ll make decisions based on whatever “boss” he chooses to have in his life. If he chooses to have the instant gratification culture as his boss, he’ll be instructed to pursue whatever feels good at that moment. I’ve talked with him about choosing a boss who will have a positive influence and guide him in his decisions. If he follows the faith he was raised in, he’ll have a boss who instructs him to live wisely, treat others kindly, and to consider the consequences of his decisions. You can also look over these five ways to teach your kids to make good decisions.
3. The Dream choice.
Yes, we are here to guide our children and help them identify their talents and strengths, but, ultimately, they get to choose the dream they want to follow. We do need to let them know that dreams don’t always have to be grandiose. It’s okay to have quiet or simple dreams too.
If they share their dream with you, listen before you start showing them the holes in their plans to pursue their dream. Guide them to consider all of the angles of what they desire. (Here’s a vision board you can help your teen create in 15 minutes.)
What choices are you teaching your teen to decide on?